The eleven tertians just finished the 30-days of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola; naturally, there is a palpable sense of consolation in the community. We are very grateful for what the Lord has done in our lives after more than a month of spending hours daily in prayer, sitting silently in meditation, and seeking – in all things – to know the Christ ever more fully.
Very often at mass, almost daily in fact, someone would pray for “those who are keeping us in their prayers during the retreat.” In other words, if you were praying for us – know that we were certainly praying for you. Today we had a brief sharing of the many profound graces that affected us during the experience. Quite honestly, it was powerful to see how God works with each man according to his need and desire. Not a single one of us was left unmoved by the month-long experience.
Now, of course, we are looking forward to Christmas. We will likely decorate a little bit in anticipation for the nativity; we have certainly discussed the meals and social events that will take place on Christmas Eve and Day. Of course, the liturgies are planned and the tertians will spend the holidays with the larger Jesuit community just up the road. There is something nice about spending Christmas with like-minded friends, and – having just prayed for a whole month together with the others – this season is extra special.
Along with Christmas preparations, most of the men are responding to messages sent by Email or on Facebook, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, and whatever else. A month absence means that a lot of business took place while we were in silence. Also, many of us are sharing news of big events that happened globally since late November; because of the silence, we have a month of ordinary time to catch up on.
Finally, along with everything else, there was a great need to get the traditional Christmas haircut. Living with a certain amount of temporal poverty means that the tertians regularly cut each other’s hair to save a few Euros. For your edification and amusement, I am attaching a photo of Peter G. sitting in the barber’s chair after having received his monthly cut from Jeffrey B. (me) earlier this evening.